TULSA - For the family of Jon Townsend, the Claremore soldier killed in Afghanistan last September, the holidays were tough.
Jon was supposed to have come home Dec. 22, just days before Christmas, to spend it with the family.
So when Taylor Hoffer, an artist from the Oologah area, told Jon's sister, Jennifer, that she'd like to create a portrait of him, Jennifer said she thought her mom would love that.
Katy Nelson, Jon's mom, tells KRMG Hoffer heard the story "on the radio, from you guys and she felt like she wanted to do something."
"When she started drawing, she thought 'well, it's not really going to mean very much' and as she drew, it got closer and closer to her heart, until she felt like she was becoming part of the family."
Hoffer brought the portrait to Katy's home on Christmas Eve.
"I hugged her, and I cried," Nelson tells KRMG, "and I told her 'his eyes -- no matter where you're at, he looks like he's looking at you."
Nelson says the gift helped her and the family keep Jon's memory even closer during the holidays.
She says the photos of the portrait, seen here, don't really portray the beauty of the drawing.
"It (the photo) doesn't even do the actual picture justice. I mean, it's beautiful."